10 things I’ve learnt being a seamstress for the women of Manchester for 10 years
Updated: Mar 18
This year Just Sew Perfect is 10 years old… 10!! Where on earth has the time gone?! The busine
ss has developed from carrying out all types of clothing alterations to now specialising in wedding gowns, bridesmaid dresses, prom dresses, evening gowns and so on. This is the work I enjoy the most and I consider myself so lucky to be able to earn a living from it. The decade has brought me one husband, two daughters and lots & lots of lovely ladies who it’s been a pleasure to work with.
Here are the top 10 things I’ve learnt about altering clothes for women over the last 10 years;
1. Fit is everything!
I bang on about it all of the time but it’s true. If clothes don’t fit properly they will never look their best and it’s even more important when you’re going to a special event. You shouldn’t need to lift the hem of a full length dress to walk, shoulder straps shouldn’t slip off, necklines shouldn’t gape. If you know your outfit isn’t right but can’t work out why or you just don’t know what alterations you need, that’s fine. Book a fitting and we’ll look at the problem areas and put them right. I firmly believe that clothes affect how we feel about ourselves. When we are happy in our clothes it shines through.
2. It’s really important that the clothes we wear reflect our own personalities and style. We don’t all want to be the same and there’s always the worry of someone wearing the same thing as you to an event. We can completely change the look of an outfit by shortening the hem, changing the shape of the neckline, adding sleeves, restyling the back, adding bows, sequins, beads and lace. Just Be You.
3. My business name is Just Sew Perfect but when it comes to wedding dress and special occasion wear alterations it’s simply not a case of ‘it just needs taking in a bit’. If you’ve ever looked closely at a wedding gown or evening dress you’ll see that they’re often made up of multiple layers of delicate fabric, boning and embellishments. I'm a perfectionist though so everything I do has to be right, there’s no cutting corners here…I just can’t help it.
4. We need to be mindful of our real size when choosing a posh frock. Never order a dress that’s too small as a motivation to lose weight. It’s much better to buy a dress that’s too big rather than too small. It’s relatively straightforward to take in most dresses up to 2 dress sizes but making a dress bigger is far more complicated. Some dresses can be let out depending on how they have been made, if not, it may be possible to restyle it to give extra room.
5. Women are really hard on themselves. We all seem to want flatter stomachs, bigger boobs, smaller boobs, thinner arms, longer legs, smaller thighs…I hear it all. Don’t worry though, the right clothes can work wonders and if your clothes aren’t quite right we can change that. You just need to be open and honest at your fittings and even if you think nothing can be done, just ask. Even just the smallest tweak can transform an outfit and make you feel a million dollars.
6. Underwear choices often have to be practical rather than pretty…boring, I know! Fancy lingerie isn’t always the right choice underneath our special outfits. Although it may look gorgeous, it can be uncomfortable for a long day of partying and it may be visible through the dress. It’s more important to prioritise comfort and support (yawn!). You’ll need to bring your underwear to all of your fittings so we can fit the dress around you and your underwear to create the perfect silhouette.
7. There are no rules when it comes to what shoes you should wear to a wedding, prom or party. I see sky high heels, trainers, sandals and even wellies…the only rule is you must bring them to all fittings. Otherwise it’s impossible to check the overall look and pin the hem to the correct length.
8. Steaming your outfit before the big day will make it look amazing! I offer a steaming service so dresses hang perfectly and look their best. You’d be amazed at what a difference it makes and I’d strongly recommend it if you’ve bought pre-loved, online or if your dress has just been stored away for a long time.
9. Special dresses need to be stored correctly. I’ve seen dresses become mis-shapen when hung incorrectly and even go mouldy when kept in the wrong bag. Always make sure dresses are stored in a breathable bag and hung from the hanging loops. If you’re using a box, wrap the dress in acid-free tissue paper so the fabric doesn’t become discoloured.
10. I love my job! I had 9 months off work last year whilst I was on maternity leave and I missed it. Helping women to look and feel their best is really rewarding and being a small part of a bride’s big day is very special. I love meeting all my clients for fittings, putting on some music and hearing all about your wedding plans, jobs, holidays and hen parties. I hear all kinds of gossip and secrets but what’s said in the fitting room stays in the fitting room!
So here’s to the next 10 years!
If you’ve got any questions about what I do or how I can help you, please send me a message.